My bumblebees

About a month ago, I got a call from a local woman who had a bee problem.  As a flower gardener, she knew she had bumblebees rather than honeybees, my usual bugs of choice, but she hoped I could help her.  In her gardening efforts, she was getting stung as she worked near their colony.  You see, in her beautiful flower garden, a nest of bumblebees had taken up residence in one of her birdhouses.

Bumblebee house?
Bumblebee house?

I’ve never kept bumblebees, but I like all of the flying creatures with the word “bee” in their name so I said I would come and take a look.  From talking with my grandpa a dozen or so years ago, I remembered that bumblebees do indeed make honey.  As a kid, he said he and his siblings used to follow bumblebees back to their nest to collect the small caches of honey they made.  Grandpa described their unusual-looking nest (better pictured here than my trying to describe it) and talked about the fun he had chasing after them.

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A bumblebee nest
A bumblebee nest

Isaac and I entered the woman’s garden and found, on an eye-level shepherd’s crook, a little birdhouse filled with a bumblebee nest, just as she reported.  I told her I didn’t think I could get the bees out and she said, “Oh no, of course not, just take the house and all if you want to.”  Of course, I wanted to so Isaac and I wrapped it in a sheet, returned home and placed it on a shepherd’s crook in my yard where it remains, still full of bumblebees.

A bumblebee nest

Bumblebee helping my raspberry blooms
Bumblebee helping my raspberry blooms

I am not sure how/if they will winter there, but I am inclined to leave it alone and see what happens.  They have been a delightful addition to the yard and garden and we have enjoyed seeing them on blooms all over the yard!

7 thoughts on “My bumblebees

  1. We have bumblebees in the back. They like to drill perfectly round holes in our wooden play house! When we find little piles of sawdust on the ground back there Butch goes out and caulks them up. I guess he does not want them taking up residence.

  2. Those are probably carpenter bees. I think bumblebees are not as likely to drill into the wood…just fyi. I mash those beasties around my house though. The difference between the two is subtle, but any one drilling into my house is dealt with using extreme prejudice too!

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